Babble On

It would be very easy to watch ten minutes of American television commercials and drown in a puddle of insecurity. Your teeth aren’t white enough, your belly’s too big, your hair needs to be more shiny; buy this pill coz you’re not happy enough. And don’t forget your floppy manhood! I don’t even have a manhood and I started feeling ugly and inadequate. Mwahaha.

Of course we have these sorts of ads in the UK and Australia but it just seems more relentless over here. Then there’s a chick on the cover of a magazine this week who vows she WILL lose ten baby pounds by January, or bust. They had a story about the story on E News, and it seemed like her happiness depends on the removal of these errant pounds.

But apart from the telly, the thing I love about travelling is that it makes me feel small and insignificant. And so aliiiiiiiiiive! Back home over the past few months, I’ve been isolated hypercritical in a way I hadn’t been for years…

(I don’t know why, but when things get dodgy in my life, that negativity can leak onto the ol’ body. I start mentally resculpting, shrinking and smoothing; as if that would make everything else better. I guess sometimes it feels easier to focus on stupid little skin deep flaws than to think about the real issues)

… but over here, scurrying about in this gigantic city, I’ve finally regained some perspective. It’s like the brain has been rebooted and things seem manageable now. I feel good in my skin.

I sent myself a postcard today, because I am a deranged dork. But also, I just wanted something physical to surprise me in a week’s time (or seventeen weeks, depending on the whims of the Royal Mail)… a handwritten reminder to hold on to this Good Feeling again.

In my first few delirious days in New York I thought, "Enjoy the holiday feeling while it lasts", but I think I can bring it back to the everyday grind. I just have to remember not to amplify problems in my head, to stop worrying about things that haven’t ever happened yet, to chill the hell out, really. And to ENGAGE WITH THE HUMANS, darnit! Every time I get down, I disappear into my burrow and lose all perspective. But just a few moments with friends and sunshine and wine and noises and colours and everything feels okay again. I don’t need to fly to fancy cities to do that, but this New York trip has been the most unforgettable reminder.

Sorry this is bloody indulgent and not very weight-lossy, folks… I’m over-excited and sleepy and so bittersweet coz we’re heading home tomorrow. Normal service shall be resumed soon 🙂

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28 thoughts on “Babble On

  1. Its sad isn’t it how most of us never feel “good enough” and no wonder with all the advertising telling us that we need to improve. I watched a documentary recently about an impoverished Central American country but the people looked happier there than most of us do here. They really seemed to care for one another. (Not that I want to live there :)but it does make you realise what is really important)

  2. I found that in my short term (1 month) I spent in the US, that there are 2 types of people:
    1. Winners; or
    2. Losers

    You are either:
    1. fit; or
    2. fat

    etc – no in-between.Wierd.

    But, saying that – I loved that month in the US. Would love it more now that the US dollar is close to the AUS.

  3. And I quote:

    “But just a few moments with friends and sunshine and wine and noises and colours and everything feels okay again.”

    So true. Thanks for the reminder! And I’m glad the trip was such a good one!

  4. I felt the exact same way this weekend while I was there, too. New York, I think, has a unique ability to make you feel utterly insignificant and yet somehow grand at the same time. There’s such an incredible melange of eccentricity and excess you absolutely cannot find anywhere else.

    I’m glad you got a chance to breathe and get outside of your head a little this week. Have a safe return home!

  5. Mum and Dad just spent a few weeks in New York and got back a couple of days ago. They couldn’t believe the amount of CRAP ads on TV in NY.

    “Do you have aching legs? Take this pill! You may experience side effects such as nausea, anal bleeding, muscle spasms, and in some cases, death.”

    Aching legs…. death…. I know what I’d rather!

  6. Mum and Dad just spent a few weeks in New York and got back a couple of days ago. They couldn’t believe the amount of CRAP ads on TV in NY.

    “Do you have aching legs? Take this pill! You may experience side effects such as nausea, anal bleeding, muscle spasms, and in some cases, death.”

    Aching legs…. death…. I know what I’d rather!

  7. For every hour of American television there are 18 to 20 minutes of commercials. Even if you don’t count the programming, we’ve upped the levels of projected self-loathing something heroic.

  8. remotes should have an extra large mute button exactly for these reasons. I know muting the commercials has helped me filter the annoying dribble 😉 nice to hear you had such a wonderful time!! will there be many many fabulous photos to follow? 😀

  9. One time, in a downer mood, I started listing everything that had annoyed me, angered, saddened me, that day. Every single one of them was something from television! –and most of them were not even “real” things, they were largely from commercials and nonsense programs. I’ve tried to cut down my TV watching since then, it’s not doing anything positive for my life. I’ve often wondered how much depression is caused by television.

    I know what you mean about that refreshing vacation time – I always come back thinking “I’m not going to let go of this feeling!” I always do, though, so I want to hear every detail of how you maintain that perspective.

  10. I’m so glad our City revived you, however I think it’s the wonderful person you are that really found this wonderful perspective, and how it’s a great reminder to get out there and take advantage of all we DO have in life. Great Post Shauna.

    Carpe Diem!

  11. I’m glad you’re having such a great time! Good for you!

    And… interesting comparison between the US/UK/AUS in regard to what the media would label as physical imperfections. That being said… I think I’m going to move to the UK or AUS. lol

  12. At least you are honest about sending postcards to yourself. I sent pretty cards to my dog last time I was abroad.

    Speaking of commercials, I’ve noticed an inverse correlation between my self-esteem and the amount of time I watch TV.

  13. Oh Gosh! American TV = revolting!

    No wonder so many people sue others. I was astounded at how many “Did this ever happen to you, cause we’re putting together a class action against Company X” advertisements.

    The ‘Have you got depression – take this drug’ advertisements were cringe worthy and I thought to myself, well I didn’t feel that way until I saw this ad. Not to mention all the other hypochondriac heaven advertisements that flooded the screens.

    The food advertisements just blew me away too.

    I loved America, for the most part, but they can have their TV and unhealthy super sized foods and restuarant chains.

  14. In the past couple years I’ve stopped watching live TV and the only time I read magazines is when I’m waiting in line at the grocery, and I’ve got to tell you it makes life a lot better. I nix those negative messages before they can enter my brain! Aren’t the British newspapers notoriously tabloid-y though?

  15. right you are PQ, there’s some toootally tabloidy ones. But the TV ads in the US are crazier, we don’t have all the drug ones… i love the ones with all the disclaimers, see your doctor if your vision blurs or your manhood falls off, etc etc… it’s compelling stuff 🙂

  16. I’m so glad you’re having a good time. It’s interesting to see how we (US) look to someone else. I’m not even going to venture what you thought of the “Fitness Made Simple” commercials which seem to be on every station, every minute.

  17. I’m so glad you’re having a good time and very jealous you’re in Noo Yoik. Am making mental plans to go as soon as possible. I guess Devon will have to do in the meantime. Looking forward to reading the proof of your book this weekend then getting my mitts on the real thing in January.

  18. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you sent yourself a postcard. That is too cute. Save it, and look at it in twenty years. You will love looking back and remembering your excitement over travel.

    Enjoy it here – and DO NOT let TV make you feel inadequate. You are so much better than anything on TV. Believe me!

  19. and yet the US is still ahead of scotland in being the fattest country..

    maybe some of these adds do in fat need to be brought to the uk!

    got to love the US in the fact that a small serving of anything is like an extra large in anyone elses mind.

    i’m glad there’s someone else out there that sends themself a postcard…

    bring on the surprise, for surprise it shall be… question is will you get it before xmas??? :O)

    cant help you with the sunshine bit at all (maybe i’ll send you some from Aus at xmas time…)

    but good wine and amusing antics i can bring anytime..